Archive for October, 2006

Picture of the Day – Rose in October Snow

October 12th, 2006

PM announces new law and order legislation

October 12th, 2006

Stephen Harper’s speech today:
New measures to protect Canadians from dangerous offenders

Good morning.

I’d like to begin by thanking the Toronto Police Association and its president, Dave Wilson, for hosting us here today at their headquarters.

I’d also like to acknowledge Tony Cannavino, the President of the Canadian Police Association as well as Steve Sullivan, President of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime and Joe Wamback, founder of the Canadian Crime Victims Foundation for coming to this event, along with, of course, many police officers and victims and citizens.

For years, one of the defining features of this country was our historically low rates of crime.

But rising levels of gun, gang and drug crime have shown we cannot take this for granted – and Canadians are looking for action.

The relative safety of big cities like Toronto compared to their American counterparts has been a difference of which we are rightly proud.

Put simply, safe streets have been part of the Canadian way of life – a defining characteristic, almost a birthright, that we cherish.

But rising levels of gun, gang and drug crime have shown we cannot take this for granted – and Canadians are looking for action.

Upon taking office, Canada’s New Government committed itself to tackling crime.

And this is exactly what we have done.

We have introduced:

Legislation that would impose mandatory prison sentences for gun crimes;

Legislation that would end house arrest for serious crimes;

Legislation that would raise the Age of Protection from 14 to 16 to safeguard our children from sexual predators; and

Legislation that would crack down on street racing.

But there’s more that we can do, more than we must do. And today I am here to announce that there’s more that we will do.

Next week, when Parliament resumes sitting, Canada’s New Government will table dangerous offenders legislation that would deal directly with serious, hardened, repeat offenders.

In a nutshell, we want to impose stricter conditions on repeat offenders to keep such criminals from offending again and again.

We will work to ensure that those who are truly dangerous will be put in jail for an indefinite period of time.

And we will make it easier to seek dangerous offender designations so that such individuals will serve indeterminate sentences.

In order to do this:

First, we will stop giving violent or sexual offenders the benefit of the doubt by instituting reverse onus on dangerous repeat sexual or violent offenders.

Up until now, the onus has been on the Crown to prove why a serious repeat sexual or violent offender should be declared a danger to society and put away indefinitely.

We believe the onus should be on offenders convicted of a third violent or sexual offence to prove why they should not be declared dangerous offenders.

If they can’t do this, they will be put in jail for an indeterminate period of time – and they won’t be eligible for parole until 7 years have passed.

Second, our legislation will put convicted criminals on a tighter leash by increasing the maximum duration of peace bonds from 12 to 24 months.

Peace bonds represent a contract of sorts between convicted criminals and the broader community.

They lay out acceptable conditions of behaviour for released criminals and put restrictions on their behaviour.

By putting convicted criminals on a tighter leash after release, we hope to better facilitate their re-integration into the community.

Third, in addition to these legislative reforms, we will adopt measures to improve how we deal with dangerous offenders.

Including making investments in the National Flagging System, which tracks potentially dangerous offenders through inter-agency collaboration and pre-sentence reports.

Strengthening the National Flagging System will strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to track high risk individuals.

And it will ensure that they receive appropriate sentences should they reoffend.

Next week’s tabling of dangerous offenders legislation will mark another step in our agenda to tackle crime, and protect the Canadian way of life.

This bill will impose stricter conditions on repeat violent and sexual offenders to keep such criminals from offending again and again.

Canadians from across this land have told us they want action on crime.

And we are delivering.

But we cannot get the job done alone.

We need the support of Opposition MPs to help pass this and the other important legislation we have introduced to tackle crime.

Frankly, the Opposition made a lot of supportive noises about this during the election but has, more often than not, been dragging their feet since.

So, if you want to help keep dangerous offenders off our streets, or
Take strong action against gun crime, or
End house arrest, or
Raise the age of protection, or
Deal with the problem of street-racing

Call your local MP;

Write them a letter; and

Tell them to get onside and get this legislation through Parliament as quickly as possible.

To make our streets safer.

To make communities secure.

And to ensure our families and children will be protected from repeat, sexual and violent offenders.

Together, we can help preserve and protect our Canadian way of life.

Thank you.

And I will take your questions.

I particularly liked this line: “We believe the onus should be on offenders.”

Breathe deeply, that’s fresh air!


Supporting Our Troops is Catching On

October 12th, 2006

I noticed in my nine year old son’s planner today the following item:

Wear Red Tomorrow

I asked him why, and he said “Ummmm, we’re supposed to wear red every Friday. I forget why”

To support our troops maybe?

“Yea, that’s it.”

Apparently he has been doing so for a few weeks now, and my daughter confirms that the rest of the school also participates. When I asked do a lot of people wear red, the both answered affirmative.

This tells me that, polls schmolls, ordinary Canadians are behind the support our troops movement.

So good on my kids school, they are doing the right thing; I wonder how many other schools are.


This day in history…

October 12th, 2006
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1823 –

Charles Macintosh sells the first raincoat.
The first flashing occurs ten minutes later.


Picture of the Day – Streets of Kingston

October 11th, 2006

Blue Blogging Soapbox Blogging Tories Site of the Week

October 11th, 2006

The Blue Blogging Soapbox Blogging Tories Site of the Week is Shlemazl:

Raving atheist Shameless Zionist Pro-Bush NeoCon Professional Jew without bad habits, except occasional sex. You’ve been warned!

He forgot to mention a good read.


Humour in the Blogs

October 11th, 2006
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Ron was over for thanksgiving, and we chatted somewhat about this blog, and others. A comment Ron made was that there was so much fighting going on in some blogs, so little humour. I agreed, and mentioned the Peace Moonbeam Chronicles somewhere in there. “The what?” Ron replied

The Peace Moonbeam Chronicles, I said. Never heard of it, he said. I thought everybody knew this one. But in case not, here’s the link. It’s worthwhile.

Later, a video called War of the Album Covers was mentioned, although nobody could find it. Not until I noticed KerPlonka! mention it anyway, thanks for the h/t KerPlonka!

And while we are mentioning videos, there is a great one I know about of Rush’s Drummer Neil Peart. It is the song YYZ, with the drummer done completely in animation. It is really worth watching.

So there Ron, there’s the links we talked about Saturday.

Update: When researching this, I found another, The Canadian Folk Collective. It is new this month, with only a few posts, but it appears to be a Canadian Moonbeam Chronicles.


Picture of the Day – Room With A View

October 10th, 2006
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Studies on Obesity and Mental Ability Flawed?

October 10th, 2006

From the National Post:

A study by French researchers that appears today in Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology, found middle-aged adults with high body mass index (BMI) scored lower on cognitive tests than their slimmer peers.

Another study in the same journal, conducted in Scotland, also found people who are more physically fit are also more mentally fit in their 70s.

When I read stories like this, there are certain items that make my alarm bells go off. This one has a bunch. One question that needs to be asked is, what were the studies authors looking for?:

The researchers hope their findings will provide people with another incentive to fight the obesity epidemic.

A-ha, scientists against the obesity epidemic.

Not being a scientist, I offer no opinion on the studies methods or results. But the authors of the French study had this to say:

It would be “logical” to assume the negative effects of weight on a person’s cognitive abilities could be reversed if they lose weight, although the study did not test the theory, said Dr. Maxime Cournot, the lead author.

It might indeed be “logical”, except Dr. Cournot is a scientist commenting on a study, in which she is the lead author, which did not test for that hypothesis. So while it may be logical, it is an unscientific extrapolation of the data. More troublesome is where she goes next:

“Consequences on cognitive function could be one more reason to focus on the prevention of obesity,” she said by e-mail.

And who should focus on the prevention of obesity? The government? The UN? Science? The problem is, she is suggesting sociological answers to her scientific question.

The second study looks at fitness, not weight, and comes to two other conclusions:

“The important result of the study is that fitness contributes to better cognitive ability in old age,” Dr. Dear said. “Thus, two people starting out with the same IQ at age 11, the fitter person at age 79 will, on average, have better cognitive function.”

It is important to note that fitness does not equal BMI, and in fact extremely fit people will have a high BMI, due to their large muscle mass. So which is it? fitness, or weight that contributes to intelligence?

Or something else?:

People with professional jobs and more education were generally more fit and had higher cognitive test scores.

Um, in other words, smarter people stayed fit? And this is the problem with both of these studies, they find a connection, fitness or weight = intelligence. They then come to a conclusion, i.e. fitness = intelligence, without eliminating the inverse possibility.

And why should I care? The week after the Participaction debate on Gerry Nicholls’ health, I’ll let Dr. Ian Deary, lead author of the second study (but not, however, the sex and drugs and rock and roll singer), answer that:

Dr. Deary said the results suggest that intervention programs designed to help older people stay fit could help their minds as well.

“Intervention programs”? That sounds a lot like Gerry Nicholls’ candy tax.


This day in history…

October 10th, 2006

1938– Jack Layton declares “peace in our time”


Happy Birthday…

October 7th, 2006
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John Cougar Mellencamp.

About writing hit songs he once said: It’s my job. I have had the opportunity to play and write songs 40 hours a week. I should come up with a good one once in a while:

1979 “I Need A Lover”
1982 “Hurts So Good”
1982 “Jack And Diane”
1982 “Hand To Hold On To”
1984 “Pink Houses”
1985 “Lonely Ol’ Night”
1985 “Small Town”
1986 “Rumbleseat”
1987 “Cherry Bomb”
1987 “The Real Life”
1988 “Check It Out”
1989 “Jackie Brown”
1991 “Get a Leg Up”
1992 “Now More Than Ever”
1993 “What If I Came Knocking”
1996 “Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)”
2001 “Peaceful World”

For exceeding expectations – and for Cherry Bomb – Happy 55th Birthday John Mellencamp.

Take a day off, you’ve earned it!


Picture of the Day – Thawing the Cambridge Penguin

October 7th, 2006
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Picture of the Day – Cambridge Penguin

October 6th, 2006
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Pittsburgh Penguins are Moving To…

October 6th, 2006
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I overheard this at the gym, from two guys who heard it from a friend, who knows a guy: It is that reliable.

New Penguins owner, Jim Balsillie, owner of RIM of Waterloo, is moving the Penguins to Cambridge. The city will build a large arena, complete with boxes.

I even have a picture of the arena plans.

This may sound crazy but… Cambridge is outside the 50 mile boundary from both Toronto and Buffalo, yet about 20 minutes from Hamilton.

Besides, I heard it from a guy who heard it from a friend, who knows a guy.


Speaking of Hockey

October 6th, 2006

Shere over at Dust my Broom dug up a great picture of some fruity clown in a Leafs outfit for the opener between Toronto and Ottawa on Wednesday.

Seeing as Shere is a Senators fan, I thought I would return the favour.